Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Whole Lotta Class. . .

Browsing through my reader this morning, I read that South Carolina's governor has admitted to an affair.

My heart breaks for this family. The pain must be almost unbearable to deal with privately, much less publicly.

I read the statement of his wife here, and am almost speechless with the grace in which she is showing. It gives me hope to see that there are some leaders of this country who actually live what they say they believe.

Jenny Sanford, I'm praying for you as you choose to remain committed to your family, and take the road less traveled. I believe you already have the wisdom of Solomon, the strength and patience of Job and the grace of God that you are seeking. His grace will carry you through. This less traveled road will not be easy, and I'm sure you have many many potholes to hit in the next few months. Forgiveness is a miraculous thing, though. My prayers will be with you.

Thank you for exemplifying - through your life - the sanctity, dignity, and importance of marriage. You are showing what REAL love is.

I salute you.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Memoir. . .

My Daddy, Tommy Thompson, 1990?

Not surprisingly, I've been thinking about my daddy a lot more than usual the past few days. What an amazing man and father he was. In trying to organize my thoughts for this post, a couple of different things crossed my mind.

My daddy was the father to 3 girls. And you know what? I was his favorite one.

As was my sister, Michele.

As was my other sister, Sarah.

I don't know how he did it, but he made each of us feel as if we were the most important girl on the planet (aside from Mama, of course). I don't know how familiar you are with sisters, but there can be quite a bit of competition between them. How my daddy was able to make 3 very different girls each feel so special is a testament to the man he was.

Now don't get me wrong - we each had our share of the belt - he certainly knew how to discipline - but we knew we were unconditionally loved by he and Mama.

I've also been thinking a lot about the night he died. I was the only one of us 3 girls that was able to be with him that night. Ivan and I had married in July and were living in Arkadelphia, Arkansas at the time. We traveled "home" to Kansas for Christmas. Daddy had been diagnosed with cancer that July, and we knew his time was short. My sisters were both due to arrive the day after we did.

Ivan and I pulled into the driveway around 9:00 p.m. I noticed a few extra cars in the driveway but for some reason, didn't think anything about it. We headed into the house, and there was Mama and Daddy's pastor. Mama came out of the back room and wanted to talk to us before we went back to see him. Daddy had not been doing well for the past 3 days - Mama knew his time on earth was very quickly coming to an end. She hadn't told us before we drove 8 hours, because she wanted us to be safe. (That's a mama for you, huh?) However, now that we were there, she needed to prepare us before we saw him.

My daddy had aged 30 years in about 30 days. I had seen him at Thanksgiving - he'd had a huge belly full of fluid, but otherwise pretty much looked like himself. I had teased him at that time about when his baby was due. Now, on the 21st of December, he looked like a man in his 90's.

He had been on hospice for about 2 weeks - I, personally, was so thankful we were all at home. Ivan, Mama and I stayed in his room with him all night. He was asleep most of the time. When he was awake, some of his talk seemed to be gibberish. Some was not. I remember him talking to the wall. He woke up, looked to his right, and started saying,

"Now, you take care of Nancy for me. Take care of her."

Mama asked who he was talking to. He replied,

"The angels. There's one right here, there's one at the end of the bed, and there's one in that corner."

He also talked about the hundreds of butterflies he was seeing.

It was absolutely amazing. I remember holding his hand a lot that night. I'm sure Mama and I were taking turns. As "out of it" as he was most of the night, every single time I told him I loved him, he said,

"I love you, too, hon."

Without fail.

He took his last breath by 9:00 that next morning. Sarah was already en route, and Mama called Michele in Missouri and told her he was gone. Michele's family was already getting ready to come when they got the call. I'm so thankful that I was able to be there with him, but I'll never understand why it wasn't in God's plan for my sisters to be there, too.

On Christmas morning, 3 days later, there were many gifts under the tree. Mama told us a story before we were able to open anything.

She told us that when Daddy was first diagnosed, one of the first things he said was,

"I've got to make those girls their shelves".

He had made Mama a little bookshelf for her cookbooks a few years prior. We all said we wanted one, and had all gotten married in the meantime. Daddy remembered telling us that he would make us one.

He wasn't able to do it all on his own. He had a lot of help at the end. But we each had a bookshelf under the tree.

Haven't you heard about people who are dying kind of "holding on" for something specific? Mama said that as soon as the last bookshelf was wrapped that previous Saturday, he let go. Within 3 days, he was in heaven with Jesus. She firmly believed that he was holding on until he knew our last gifts from him were done.

And we do, too.

Not surprisingly, I see a lot of my daddy in Ivan. I have no doubt that one day, our 3 girls will all feel as if they were his favorite. And that is as it should be.

I think about Daddy every day. I wish my girls knew him. I wonder if he would be proud of me as a mom, and I wonder how close he and Ivan would be if he were still with us. I have had a blessed life - I grew up in a home of security and love. I didn't have to try to win my parents' affection. I'm so thankful for every moment I had with Daddy, and I try to cherish my loved ones that are still with me in the same way.

On this Father's Day, I can't help but think about our Heavenly Father, and how secure and loved we should feel in Him.

He can make you feel as if you are His favorite.

Because He loves you.


And He is holding on for something, too. For us to live for Him.

I'm so thankful I had a Daddy who did that. And who loved his family as Christ loved the church.

I love and miss you, Daddy. I wish you were here.

Daddy as a toddler.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So There! Take That!

As I was sitting on my bed folding laundry this afternoon, I was listening to a Focus on the Family podcast. More specifically, a 5 episode series entitled The God of All Comfort. Dr. Dobson was interviewing Steven Curtis Chapman about the death of his 5 year old daughter, Maria, last year.

Look at what Steven said:

"I believe there is a deceiver, there is an enemy of God, and God allows, he [Satan] only can accomplish what God allows him to accomplish. And I believe that what Job teaches us is that what God somehow, mysterious to us, what He allows, He allows it only to the degree that it actually will accomplish the exact opposite of what Satan wants to do - to discredit God, to discredit a family of faith. I believe that Satan is going to be humiliated and embarrassed in that. I believe he already is being. . ."

Wow. I can in no way understand what it must be like to lose a child at the age of 5. I'm sure it's not a place the Chapman's could have ever imagined themselves to be. The grief must seem insurmountable. The circumstances in this situation were so heartbreaking - but God has been glorified in it.

I found myself in a personal crisis a number of months ago. I was all of a sudden thrust into a place that I never could have imagined myself to be in. The grief I experienced seemed insurmountable.

I guess that's why this podcast today meant so much to me.

I understand that God allowed Satan to enter our lives in this way. And you know what? I'm so thankful that God allowed it to the degree that it accomplished the exact opposite of what Satan intended.

My faith is stronger.

My witness is stronger.

My marriage is stronger.

My family is stronger.

And if I had to go through it all - all over again - I would, as long as I knew that the God of all comfort was with me.

May He be glorified!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My New 'Do

My hair was BADLY in need of some color. I appreciate none of you saying anything - you certainly had every right to!! :) Anyway, I finally got to it today. First I colored it all, then attempted some highlights. They turned out much more red than I anticipated, but then they always do. Hopefully it's not too brassy!

I never realized I had such a big schnoz! Our poor kids. . . they don't stand a chance!!!

This Magic Moment. . .

Remember that song? It's been stuck in my head the past few days.

My children NEVER fall asleep on me. I wish they would . . . every once in a while. But, alas, it just doesn't happen. If Aubrey is sleepy, she doesn't relax in my arms. She gets restless. And a little peeved frustrated. I think she wants to nurse - not sleep - so I don't make her happy. Now her Daddy? She loves to fall asleep in his arms. Nah - she's not a daddy's girl - not at all.

So, Saturday, one of Aubrey's top teeth was trying to break through, and she was none too pleased. The poor baby was miserable! She'd been fussy all day, and had not slept well because of it. I was getting frustrated, so I decided to hop in the bath and try to wash my cares away. Ivan had things under control - Cheerios seemed to be doing the trick at the time. He decided to lay her down when she finished - she was obviously VERY SLEEPY. So I'm relaxing the day away, and I begin to hear her screams cries. I tried to be strong, but I just. couldn't. handle. it. Don't get me wrong, I can usually let her cry if I need to, but I knew she was in pain. I had to try to help.

So, I hopped out of the tub, threw on my robe, and headed to her room. Ivan had her in his arms, to no avail. She was not happy. He passed her off to me, and I sat in the rocker to try to nurse her, thinking maybe it would help. She ate for just a few minutes, and then. . .

she just laid her head on my chest and looked up at me. I gave her her paci.

Within about 15 seconds, she was asleep.

It was heaven! I'm tellin' ya . . . because this NEVER happens, it was such a special moment. Crazy me, I was calling out to Ivan, as quietly as I could,

"Go get the camera!!! I have to have a picture of this!"

Cause you can bet your bottom dollar it will probably never happen again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

And 1, and 2, and 3, and . . .

Temple cat stretching
Originally uploaded by

STRETCH!!!! Come on now, you can do it!

Think about this with me for a minute . . . you can stretch a buck, wear stretch pants, get stretch marks, stretch your legs, stretch your limits, spend some time on a stretcher ( hopefully not!) - the list goes on and on.

We were recently stretched when the Lord made it ABUNDANTLY clear that we were to find a new church home. It wasn't something we wanted to do - it wasn't fun. It wasn't easy. It was very scary going into new Sunday School classes where we didn't know anybody. It was a little disheartening walking into a large sanctuary, not seeing any familiar faces, and knowing that we could be somewhere where we were not only known, but loved.

Maybe you've been stretched recently. Maybe it's a marriage in crisis, or a sick and hurting loved one. Maybe it's feeling like you're in a dry spell spiritually. It could be financial strain - we've certainly been there, too! Whatever it may be, hold on - and keep stretching.

You see, just like stretch marks in a pregnancy, the reward is worth it in the end.

Because in my life, the times that I've been stretched the furthest are the times that the Lord has revealed Himself to me the most. Whether it's His calming hand in the midst of a storm, or just His quiet, yet overwhelming Presence - I know that I will never be alone. I serve a God who cares about me and my daily struggles and cares. I serve a God who will never leave me or forsake me. If my marriage has hit a rough patch, He is there. If I lose a child, or a mother, or a father, He is there. If my husband loses his job, He is there. If you've struggled with infertility, or if you've had a child on the verge of death, or if you're struggling with just what you need to be doing next, lean on Him. Let Him hold you. He is there.

I'm just beginning to reap the benefits of our recent stretching exercise. I am getting to know some pretty awesome ladies through working at VBS this year. They've all been stretched to differing degrees in their lives, I'm sure, and they've all got something different and unique to share with others. Our world is so enriched by the relationships we have with people, and if we let ourselves, we can all help each other so much.

So pull up those stretch pants, and don't give up! Don't fear what's outside of your comfort zone - embrace it for the growth that you know will come!

Except for maybe public speaking. It doesn't count.

"You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand." Psalm 16:11

Monday, June 8, 2009


Photo by: TheAlieness

We woke up early today - VBS is this week! I was worried about getting us all there on time, so I woke up at 6:00 (okay, 6:15!) to begin the day. I hopped in the shower, hoping to get myself ready first, then concentrate on the girls. Lo and behold, when I got out, Emma and Sarah were up, dressed and fed, and Aubrey was just starting to stir in her crib. I fed Aubrey, fixed Emma's and Sarah's hair, and out the door we went.
As I was leaving, I noticed the disaster that is my kitchen. What in the world happened? I remember cleaning it up after lunch yesterday - but it looks like a bomb exploded in there! We had popcorn and fruit for dinner last night - I didn't think it had left much of a mess, but I guess I should have checked before bed last night. Normally, the kitchen is cleaned immediately after we eat, but I tend to slip a little on the weekends. :(

But I digress. I noticed the kitchen as we were leaving, but I didn't say anything - just kissed Ivan, thanked him for all his help, and shooed everyone out the door.

Fast forward to 1:00. The girls and I arrive home from VBS to grab a quick lunch before we head to the Dr. for Aubrey's immunizations. The House Fairy decided to clean up my kitchen before he left for work this morning! I know - I am very blessed. It was very thoughtful - Ivan knows I am used to being home all day to take care of everything. He knew I wouldn't want to come home after a busy morning to a messy kitchen.

I was so thankful. Which made me think - do I show my thankfulness enough? Do I foster a thankful spirit in my home?

What about you? How do you show your thankfulness to those you love? What are some creative ways that you show others what they mean to you? Please share - I'd love some new ideas!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I Think I've Got the Blah's. . .

It's Thursday morning, and here I sit at my dining room table. To my left, there is a green and yellow Harkerware bowl filled with oranges and lemons, "The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook", and a steaming cup of coffee. To my right, my kitchen window - I'm looking out at the lush green grass of my front yard and listening to the cheerful song of the birds outside. Ivan just left for work and the girls are still asleep, so I am relishing the very rare moment of quiet in my home. It's definitely a still, peaceful morning, yet I'm feeling a little anxious and irritated.

Thursday is my normal day for grocery shopping, and it is usually a 3 or 4 hour ordeal. You see, I strive to honor God with our finances, and to honor my husband's blood, sweat and tears also. I don't want to waste any of the money that he works so hard for. Because of this conviction, I clip coupons. And I scan sales ads. And I go to at least 3 grocery stores every week. And, believe it or not, this is something I really enjoy doing. It's like a game - seeing how much I can save and what I can get free. 40% savings is a pretty common amount I see at the bottom of my receipts - and last week, I got Ritz Artisan crackers, a box of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, and a can of Cutter Bug Repellant free.

I also use this time to teach the girls. They are learning how to compare prices, find the price per unit, and stick to the budget that I've set up. Emma and Sarah take turns marking off the grocery list and putting our goods in the buggy.

For some reason, I just don't feel like it today. Maybe it's because it looks so dreary outside. Maybe it's because I took the day off yesterday and stayed on the couch with a good book. Or maybe . . . just maybe. . . it's because I have about 3 weeks worth of coupons to go through. And this week, I can't go anywhere until that is done.

I've really been trying the last few months to stay on top of things here at the house. I've got a "homekeeping" system that, for the most part, works for me. If you were to just drop by for a visit, most days I wouldn't have anything to be embarrassed about. Believe me, with 3 children that are ALWAYS home, that is a feat to be proud of. Well, for some reason, coupon clipping has fallen to the bottom of my to do list lately. If my list isn't all crossed out by the end of the day, "coupons" is one of the items left undone. So it gets forwarded to the next day. And the next. And the - yes, I think you get my point.

So, I need some help here, peeps! How do you inspire yourself to do those things that you don't just love to do? How do you get past the dreary day humdrums, and kick those gray skies out of the way?

Because we really need some milk in this house.

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